On October 19, 1852, the first post office was established in Tooele with John Rowberry as postmaster.
For many years, postmasters were a political position, appointed by the president of the United States. However, this ended around the time of the Carter administration.
The Tooele Post Office was built where it stands today at 65 N Main St, Tooele City in 1933.
Roland Dalton, current postmaster for all of Tooele, Stockton, and Rush Valley, took the Transcript on a tour of this old facility. Many additions have been added on to the building since 1933, but there are still indications of how the old building used to operate.
Showing us a picture of the old Post Office building in 1938, Dalton said jokingly, “that’s how long I’ve been here!”
Dalton has been the Postmaster of Tooele for almost eight years, but he’s been in the postal service for more than 30 years, spending nearly 20 of that as a mail carrier. He’ll be retiring next week on May 31.
Dalton first became interested in the mail service because he had an uncle who was a carrier. He liked the idea of a government job, but the story behind how he got his first job at the post office is quite incredible.
“I put in for the post office when I got off my mission, shortly after I joined the National Guard in May of 1985,” Dalton said. “I never got a call back or heard anything from them. Then, about five years later, they called me back and offered me a job.”
Dalton was surprised they still had his application after that much time had passed, but he gladly accepted the offer.
In all his time in the post office, he hasn’t heard of anyone else who’s had the same experience. In the five years he waited to hear back from the post office, Dalton had started working in the glass business. He even owned his own glass company.
Along with his 30 years with the postal service, Dalton spent 34 years in the National Guard.
At the time he joined the Guard, Dalton and his wife, Liz, had a young family.
“My daughter had just turned 3, so I picked a career field in the Guard that was the shortest amount of time I’d be away from home, and that was in supply,” Dalton said.
Dalton worked in the electronic communications unit in the supply field. His unit was in charge of retrofitting Guard bases with fiberoptic to give access to the internet. He installed radar and antennas in bases all over the world. Dalton was never deployed or in active-duty military.
After working in electronic communications, Dalton worked in supply at the Salt Lake International Guard base for nine years.
The name of the base was changed sometime after he stopped working there to the Roland Wright International Guard Base. Though it’s not directly named after him, he jokingly muses that the name change was influenced by him in some way.
Dalton said his favorite thing about the Guard was the opportunity to serve his country and the people he interacted with.
“It’s different from active-duty military because you’re with these people forever,” said Dalton. “Some of those guys I served with for the entire time I was in the military — 34 years. You become really close to the people.”
Dalton participated in leadership training in the Guard which he credits to furthering his career in the post office.
He gradually began getting jobs supervising carriers and routes after his boss began noticing his leadership qualities.
That same boss gave Dalton his first opportunity to work as a postmaster in 2008 for the Grantsville Post Office, a position he held for five years.
Dalton then became the postmaster in Magna for three years. Dalton returned to Tooele to become the postmaster in 2015.
About the same time as he became postmaster, Dalton was called to serve as the bishop of his congregation, or Ward, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was also still active in the National Guard.
“I interviewed to become the postmaster for Tooele the same week I interviewed to become bishop, and I was still in the Guard,” Dalton said. “It was a crazy time trying to manage all of that.”
He retired from the National Guard in June of 2019.
Dalton spoke about his day-to-day tasks as a postmaster.
“I’m responsible for everything that goes on regarding mail delivery,” he said. “ There are two supervisors below me who run the carriers and the clerks. I make sure everyone’s following all the rules regarding the facility, safety, hiring, and discipline.”
Dalton also talks with customers frequently, answers complaints, is responsible for the time keeping, and attends a lot of meetings especially. The purpose of these meetings is to implement new regulations for management and communicate information from the top down.
The delivery area for Tooele, Stockton, and Rush Valley is 150 square miles.
In the time that Dalton has been working for mail delivery in Tooele, he has seen the number of mail routes going out of the office jump from nine to 27.
It is a lot to oversee as a postmaster, according to Dalton.
Dalton said some of the biggest changes he’s seen since he entered the postal service has been the decline in mail volume with the advancement of emails, text messaging, and the internet. But at the same time, the number of packages being shipped has grown immensely. “Now it’s like Tetris out here trying to get the packages into the trucks,” he said. “During Christmas time there will be 300 or 400 packages in the trucks.”
The Transcript asked Dalton what he plans on doing after he retires.
“The biggest question on my mind will be should I golf in the morning or in the afternoon,” he said.
Roland and Liz Dalton have three children and 7 grandchildren, and they plan on spending a lot more time with them after he retires.